Oasis : Supersonic
Originally published in the NME, April 9 1994.
If Oasis didn’t exist, it’s hard to believe anyone would have the gall to invent them. Great bands out of Manchester there has been, even ones that harked back to previous great Manchester bands, but nothing like this. First impressions dictate that here we have an inch-perfect amalgam of late-‘80s Mancadelic cool: Tim Burgess fronting the Stone Roses with lyrics by Shaun Ryder. To suggest these lads ooze self-confidence is akin to saying Ryan Giggs looks a bit useful on the ball; statements rarely come so under.
Yet these are only the crudest of reference points, and anyhow, Oasis are rightly setting mouths a-gape by being so astoundingly accomplished from the outset. Even their illustrious forefathers allowed themselves a few initial fumbles before hitting that swaggering stride, but ‘Supersonic’ is a paragon of pop virtue in a debut single: three or so minutes of laid-back urgency, generously appointed with at least four melodies, and fizzing with enough attitude to silt up the orifice of your choice. Milkmen will whistle it, impressionable youths will play air guitar to its swooping, stalking riffs, while fading twenty-somethings who remember with fondness something called ‘baggy’ will find themselves lapsing into the Dance Of The Tired And Emotional Baboon. Obviously, in the wrong hands this record is a potent weapon.
And those lyrics! “I’m feeling supersonic/Give me gin and tonic,” offers Liam Gallagher in Verse One, before totally outdoing himself in Verse Two: “I know a girl called Elsa/She’s into Alka Seltzer/She sniffs it through a cane on a supersonic train/And she makes me laugh/I got her autograph/She done it with a doctor/On a helicopter…” Suffice to say in the next line he rhymes “tissue” with “The Big Issue”.
That Oasis have the nerve to foist such doggerel on a nation of still vaguely intelligent folk is sufficient proof of the intuitive genius at work here. That the B-side is a beautiful aching ballad called ‘Take Me Away’ demonstrates still further that they’re not just along for the ride ‘til the Roses finally sort themselves out. Thrilling? Absolutely. Stars? Inevitably. And? Simply a great rock ‘n’ roll group.